San Miguel Corp. Sports Director, Alfrancis Chua, acknowledges the formidable challenge ahead that is, securing the gold medal in the upcoming 19th Asian Games, set to unfold on September 23, 2023, in Hangzhou, China.

Chua is confident that the newly appointed Gilas Pilipinas coach, Tim Cone, will receive unwavering support from both the team and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), despite the demanding task of preparing Gilas Pilipinas for the Asian Games in just two weeks.

“We recognize the difficulty of this undertaking, especially for Tim, considering the time constraints and player selection process, but we maintain a positive outlook,” Chua expressed during a press conference held last Thursday at the PBA headquarters in Libis, Quezon City.

Chua further emphasized Cone’s impeccable work ethic, stating, “I don’t need to motivate this individual; he’s been a fighter from the beginning.” Chua, renowned for orchestrating San Miguel Corporation’s PBA dominance, which resulted in the company’s three ball clubs securing 15 league championships since the 2016 season, attests to Cone’s commitment.

“From my experience, even when we’re leading by a significant margin, he continues to rotate players and insists on them executing both offensive and defensive plays. That’s the level of discipline he upholds,” Chua added.

Cone’s role as head coach for the Asian Games marks his return to coaching a team in the event since he last led the Philippine Centennial team to a bronze medal finish in the 1998 edition in Bangkok, Thailand.

Incidentally, this was the last time the Philippines clinched a basketball medal in the quadrennial games.

Assisting Cone in preparing the team for the Asian Games are Barangay Ginebra’s assistant coaches, Richard del Rosario and LA Tenorio, who is currently on leave as a player.

Jong Uichico and Josh Reyes are Cone’s deputy coaches. (ai/mnm)